Gabriela Koukalova pips Laura Dahlmeier to first gold of Biathlon World Championships
Gabriela Koukalova took the first gold medal of the World Biathlon Championships after taking the 7.5km sprint title in Hochfilzen, beating overall World Cup leader Laura Dahlmeier into second place.
The 27-year-old, winner of two silver medals at Sochi 2014, now also leads the World Cup sprint standings after beating Dahlmeier by four seconds in Austria.
Starting at the back of the field, Dahlmeier shot clean to take her first individual world title, having previously only won the mixed relay event in 2015.
Slovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina set the early pace, but was overtaken when France's Anais Chevalier shot clean to stop the clock in a time of 19:37.7.
That proved good enough for third place, as five more skiers shot clear rounds, but only Dahlmeier and the imperious Koukalova could post a faster time, the latter finishing in 19:12.6.
The Czech biathlete managed to go 25.1s faster than Chevalier, with Germany's Dahlmeier 21.1s ahead of the Frenchwoman.
Gabriela Koukalova of Czech Republic in actionReuters
Italy's Lisa Vittozzi finished fourth, with compatriot Federica Sanfilippo in fifth, but no one could stop Koukalova giving her nation a first women's world title since Katerina Holubcova in 2003.
The women's action in Hochfilzen continues on Sunday with the 10km pursuit.